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18/7/2013 - RMG - The Rector Major’s Goodnight at the end of the summer plenary session
Photograph available in Image Bank

(ANS – Rome) – Yesterday 17 July, at the Generalate, the Rector Major outlined for the confreres of the Community the work done by the members of the General Council during the summer plenary session.

This 2013 summer plenary session ends officially on Friday 19 July. It began with a week’s retreat at Sant’Agnello, an experience that proved very helpful for the physical and spiritual renewal of the Council members. “This enabled us to face the workload with energy and serenity,” the Rector Major explained, “so much so that we were able to finish ahead of time the study of the principal themes we had chosen.”

The Council faced many different issues.  First of all, there was the presentation of the theme of the spiritual and pastoral programme of the 2014 Strenna: Let us return to the spiritual experience of Don Bosco so as to walk in holiness the way of our specific vocation.  This corresponds to the third year of the three-year programme of preparation for the Bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco.

Other traditional activities of the plenary session also required great attention:

  • the course for recently appointed Provincials is regarded by all as an important means of formation in Salesian leadership. Don Chavez commented, however, that there is need for further reflection on the way this course is carried out, in order to make it more effective; 
  • the appointment of Superiors in four Salesian circumscriptions: (Italy-Sicily, India-Mumbai, Colombia-Bogotá and Africa Ethiopia-Eritrea);
  • the study of the reports on 8 Extraordinary Visitations: Southern Philippines , Africa Ethiopia-Eritrea, Brazil-Campo Grande, Austria, Western United States, Spain-León, Sri Lanka, and Italy-Sicily;
  • the distribution of the funds from the Mission Offices, a process which, the Rector Major said, reflected clearly the difficult situation in the economic and financial world. Fewer funds were received and the needs of the Provinces are great.
  • Approval of expenditure for 2012.

The Council reflected also on specific themes from the 26th General Chapter that were regarded as priorities:

  • the “rethinking of Youth Ministry”.  Fr Fabio Attard, General Councillor for Youth Ministry, and the members of his department, in collaboration with a large number of theologians and people active in pastoral ministry, had drawn up well in advance a plan for the updating of the Youth Ministry Manual previously compiled by Fr Antonio Doménech. The Council examined this new Manual and gave its contributions, in particular regarding conformity with the Constitutions and the General Chapters.  The new text does not introduce new pastoral directives, but a new presentation that is more up to date theologically. 
  • the Structures of Government of the Congregation in the light of the response of the Provinces to a questionnaire on the composition and the governing of the General Council, and the proposal made by the commission established for this purpose. The Councillors voted on each suggestion and evaluated the proposals made in relation to the restructuring of the European Regions. On this matter, the 27th General Chapter will have the final say.
  • the Financial Situation of the General Direction, another topic that will be debated at greater length in GC27.
  • The approval, with corresponding observations, of Provincial Chapters that had made or updated their Provincial Directories of Formation, Finance, Provincial Organic Plan (POP) and Provincial Educative and Pastoral Plan (PEPS):

The Rector Major concluded by referring to proposals for our participation in World Expo 2015 and the sharing that had taken place at the six-monthly meeting with the General Council of the FMA.

Published 18/07/2013

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